How do you determine where a 59 hertz peak is coming from?

I noticed 59, 41, and 28 hertz peaks by viewing plot spectrum but am not sure if they’re part of the song or electrical noise, to remove or leave?? My ears, of course are tricked at these frequencies. Electrical, of course I would want to remove, but part of the music I would want to leave. Any way to determine where these are coming from? Recorded on Tascam dr5 portable recorder. Room quiet but there is much air conditioning noise happening in nearby dwellings.

How much of it is still there when you turn the music off? As I recently posted to someone else with a Mystery Hum Problem, put a microphone on a stick, wear headphones and wander around (like that guy with the metal detector at the beach) until the sound gets louder or softer.

That’s how I found a broken musical bass cabinet. It was humming even though it was turned off.

With a portable recorder it’s even easier. Strap it to your belt and go.

59 is odd. Are you in a 60Hz country? Are you in portable power generation like stand-alone solar power? While It’s not unusual for a 60Hz motor to run off pitch, it’s usually cause for concern.

Computer vent motors are DC, they can run at any speed the computer thinks they should. Computer noises are a really popular problem for home recordists.


The frequency reported by Plot Spectrum is not guaranteed to be absolutely accurate. Plot Spectrum works by analyzing the audio as frequency bands, and then interpolates between those measured values. For example, with a “Size” setting of 1024 and a sample rate of 44100 Hz, the center of one band is at 43.066406 Hz and the center of the next band is at 86.132812. Frequency values between 43.066406 and 86.132812 Hz are estimated using cubic interpolation.

The frequency range (from 0 Hz “DC” to the highest possible frequency) is determined by the sample rate. The maximum possible frequency that can be present is half the sample rate, so for a sample rate of 44100 Hz, the high frequencies are limited by an absolute value of 22050 Hz.

The frequency range is split into equally spaced bands. The number of bands is determined by the “Size” settings. A “Size” of 1024 gives 512 bands (measurements). A size of 2048 gives 1024 measurements, and so on - the number of measurements is half the “Size”.

In the US, “mains hum” ( has a base frequency of 60 Hz. That could be where your “59” Hz peak is coming from.
Identifying the source of noise is a task that is best dealt with early on. When you are setting your recording levels, listen carefully to the noise that is present. Does the noise continue when you are recording “silence”. If you are using a microphone, does the noise get better or worse if you move the microphone somewhere else? Is the noise only present when you are recording from a specific source, for example if there is hum that is only present when you are recording a guitar amp, then try turning the amp off and see if the noise stops - if it does then you’ve found the source of the noise.

Thanks Koz and Steve, I dunno, I’ll have to experiment by just sampling silence around my place, as you suggest, good idea. I think I’ll narrate so I know where I’m at in the recording when later analyzing with Audacity. If the noise is neighboring air conditioners running I will ask them to shut them off and endure the heat while I record… (kidding). Another thing I forgot is when I turn my home’s AC off I need to also shut the fuses off. As I’ve noticed before that these AC machines still hum when off, as a lot of modern electronics do now. You think they’re off but they isn’t! They’s having a secret conversation with the smart meters, sending your personal information (and who knows what) to C.H.A.O.S. for assessment and calibration. So anyway, yeah, until I can “get off the grid” …this ever increasing insane grid… I’ll keep plucking away.

BTW I’m stuck in Phoenix, AZ, USA (send money ASAP) ~ in the summertime (air conditioners blasting everywhere!). “60 Hertz” land, interesting, maybe that’s why Americans are… ahhh… so ‘different’? What are your frequencies… or mains humming at?

Ever get away, into the country, and your head is still humming and ringing (and possibly spinning)?
Have you ever experienced true silence? I think I did once, alone in a remote cave (no, not with a laptop! …or cellphone, or any other personal electronic device!), absolute darkness as well, an awesome experience. “Craters of the Moon” park I think it was. It was closed that day and I entered from a side road.

My next song will be silence… I will record silence and then de-amplify it to infinity… oh wait, that wouldn’t work… Might as well just turn it off! But seriously how could natures silence be replicated? With certain frequencies to maybe negate the certain modern ‘hum’ or ‘hums’ of modernity… This may be why we like music so much in the first place! We are aggitated by all the modern hums and seek audio, or audio/visual to dillute and filter them. Modern slaves, or slaves to modernity, same difference.